Walk-in spirometry pilot project for discovering of early chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Ugeskr Laeger. 2009 Oct 19;171(43):3083-8. Løkke A, Christensen LB, Fuglsang C. Medicinsk Afdeling, Regionshospitalet Silkeborg, DK-8600 Silkeborg, Denmark.

INTRODUCTION: In Denmark, 10% of the health budget is spent on treating chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD) and the economic burden from COPD looks more than likely to grow in the near future. With this in mind we initiated a pilot project with The Danish Lung association to discover early stages of COPD by using spirometry.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: A total of 344 persons from Aarhus and the surrounding area participated in a free anonymous walk-in spirometry project in the Health Centre, Aarhus. Among these, 291 persons were asked to fill in a questionnaire. A total of 135 smokers and/or persons with reduced lung function came to a second examination with yet another spirometry measurement and an advanced questionnaire. COPD staging was performed according to the GOLD and ERS/ATS criteria.

RESULTS: 61% of the participants were women aged 60 years or older. 43% had normal lung function at the first examination. Only every fourth of those with COPD were aware of the fact that they had a lung disease. 33% would have visited their GP to have their lungs examined. 11-16% gave up smoking between the two examinations.

CONCLUSION: This rather cost-effective walk-in design makes it possible to discover a substantial group of persons with previously unknown, mild and moderate COPD prior to examination and at the same time motivate people to give up smoking. Whether this is a long-term effect has yet to be determined.

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